Yola Fatoush: Yola Fatoush (Parlour Records)
7″ Ep / DL
The music of experimental pop band Yola Fatoush is about as eclectic as music can get, embracing the marginal & the mainstream. It’s also, according to Maren McGlashan, quite brilliant & well worth your attention.
London-based Yola Fatoush must have a thing for pop music. After all, their self-titled EP plays with the most obvious elements of the genre, from the R&B sounds of The Premises to the infectious, nearly choral, Usher in the Spring. Regardless, a quick listen to Yola Fatoush renders anything but thoughts of commercial sounds. Although the band pays homage to popular elements, they give them a dramatic reworking that results in a collaged – and barely recognizable – form of the prior. The outcome borders on dubstep and trance, and offers few cohesive lyrics against a mountain of effects, beats and echoes.
This EP, just four songs deep and twelve minutes long, is hard to dismiss. Even for me – whose usual reliance on tight structure and lyrics overshadows most ambient songs – Yola Fatoush’s disc is special. Their unique compositions make for a listening experience that is transcendental. Truly, Yola Fatoush feels like a page torn from a contemporary art manual, which is further expressed within several layers of the group’s output. Just take a look at their album artwork. Pictured is a muscular, tattooed man, kneeling with Frisbee in hand. It is minimalist and entirely juxtaposes the lush sounds of the EP, but also offers a bit of dry humor – and plenty of mystery. Then there’s the Yola Fatoush website. I’ll avoid commentary on that matter, but you should certainly go check it out for yourself.
It goes without saying that there is plenty of mystique surrounding this ambient duo, but one thing is for sure: twelve minutes after track one rolls on Yola Fatoush’s debut EP, after the disc has reached its final note, I’m left with an appreciation for the band’s uniquely crafted, artistic and ambient pop music. This is an album that begs to be heard multiple times, and can offer something special even to those who aren’t big fans of experimental sounds. A dance hall, art gallery, high fashion boutique, or the pop charts – where does Yola Fatoush belong? In all of the above, no doubt, and if you’re a fan of eclectic sounds, it should be in a part of your collection, too.
All words by Maren McGlashan. You can read more from Maren on LTW here.